Growing Website Traffic through Link Networks
The focus of this post is not Link Networks, per se, but web spam.
Why Backlinks Matter
Google’s major contribution to web search was the realization (and implementation) that what mattered most (in 1996) in generating quality search results was using links between websites as the main factor in ranking web pages within a SERP (search engine result page).
The algorithm that documents their method is named Page Rank and it is probably the single most lucrative algorithm in the history of history. The patent that protects the algorithm is owned by Standford and licensed exclusively to Google.
This link-based ranking system is so central to how Google sequences search results that before Google was called Google, it was called BackRub.
For those of you who can understand the math, here is a PageRank tutorial by Ian Rogers of Princeton University.
How People (Websites) Acquire Backlinks
Here is where we’ve stepped onto the slippery slope.
What happens is some activity that is done “well” at one time is (over time) mutated into a sleazy practice later.
This post is not actually about acquiring backlinks in general. Other posts on this site discuss that topic. This post is specifically about what are called Link Networks.
There, unfortunately, is not universal agreement on what a link network is. I’ve seen definitions that range from:
A number of websites that link to each other.
A commercial service where links are provided in exchange for payment.
Clearly the first is an over-generalization as that definition applies to the entire Internet. The second is much more in the spirit of web spam.
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